Peer to Peer Magazine

Fall 2019

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 28 of 63

30 Innovation + Diversity Initiatives = Better and More Impactful Solutions B Y K R I S T I S M I T H A N D S T E P H A N I E R I C H T E R L aw firms have undeniably evolved over the past decade, now rewarding innovation alongside hard work and sheer brilliance. We've seen a shift in thinking across nearly all facets of how firms operate through their use of collaboration, project management, technolo, and data analysis. During this remarkable period of change, law firm leaders have recognized their own role in promoting diversity & inclusion efforts within their communities. However, most firms have attempted to carry out these efforts in silos working through social justice organizations in separate supporting roles. This begs the question, what if our firms addressed diversity & inclusion issues with this newfound innovative ener? This article will unpack what strategies can be applied and why they may be more impactful than our traditional approaches to diversity & inclusion efforts. We'll also illustrate a real-world example of how our two law firms, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and Thompson Coburn, are bravely exploring this new approach, together. Collaboration The core tenet of this new approach to diversity & inclusion is collaboration. Bringing different operational departments together (information technolo, marketing, risk management, etc.) and working with other law firms with shared values leverages a variety of skillsets, perspectives, and networks for a more holistic solution. Two law firms in the same community working together is perhaps the boldest aspect of this approach. In our adversarial-based industry, this partnership is almost unheard of and rarely encouraged or celebrated. Since we are not competing in the diversity & inclusion space, we can work together to notch collective wins on behalf of our communities. Undoubtedly, inter-firm collaboration may elicit a certain level of discomfort with some law firm leaders. These partnerships will also attract the most support from other strategic partners and, ultimately, make the effort more successful. How two local competitor law firms came together to benefit their community K R I S T I S M I T H A N D S L U L A W S T U D E N T S M A P P I N G M I S S O U R I B I R T H C E R T I F I C A T E I S S U E S

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